From the chambers of City Hall to the halls of Parliament, Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain is working to ensure leaders at all levels of government buy-in to council’s LNG Go Plan.
Brain and city manager Robert Long spent four days in Ottawa last week to speak with various officials about the plan, which will be released in draft form in the coming weeks, and seek support for Prince Rupert’s plan to manage the growth related to the liquefied natural gas industry.
“We went there because Prince Rupert is becoming Canada’s trade gateway,” he said.
“With the expansion of the container terminal we are really beginning to see that manifest. Now that we have decisions around LNG coming as early as this June, we’re basically looking for partners with our LNG Go Plan … a lot of the policies the government has been passing are for the expansion of the resource economy and we wanted to make them more aware that we are the end of the line for that so we need an extra layer of focus and attention if we are going to be successful with LNG,” he said.
“It was really productive and got everyone realizing there is a sense of urgency for our region, not just Prince Rupert but for the Kitimat and Terrace area as well. Our area really needs some laser focused attention. It was a really productive and meaningful interaction with a number of ministries.”
Among the meetings the two took in were a discussion with Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel and meetings with senior policy advisors in the ministries of industry, natural resources, fisheries and oceans, social development and infrastructure. While seeking support, Brain said he encouraged the officials to look to Prince Rupert as an example of how to handle growth in communities across the country.
“Our main message to them was that we want to be the model for how to handle rapid growth because, unfortunately, no community in the world has really done this right. There is a lot of issues that happen on the ground without proper planning and no community has been able to handle proper growth,” he said, noting city leaders will be meeting with the District of Kitimat to discuss their plans for growth.
“We feel we can be the model so all residents are taken care of, housing and social issues are taken care of and environmental needs are taken care of and that those things are thought out and planned out before there is a major influx.”